Kindergarten News: Balance Between Form and Freedom
We have had a wonderful week in the KG. We began our short week with potato planting. We were generously offered some seed potatoes from Full and By Farm. This activity takes a certain emphasis on form in order for the previous planted rows not to be trampled and the children to work together.The oldest children were coupled with younger ones , as they shared a shovel; one dug the hole and the other placed the potato in the hole and covered it over with a soil blanket. At the end we had planted a long row of fingerling, purple, red and white potatoes. It will be so exciting to find these colorful treasures during our potato harvest this fall.
Our field trip to the quarry was a big success. I love that we have this opportunity to be in a town setting. The need to walk together and watch for “traffic” and visit with our community neighbors is such a different experience for the children. They are so comfortable and familiar with Black Kettle Farm that this new less familiar setting offers a more formed experience. When the children reached the quarry they were greeted by terraces of gray slate rock walls and a nice pond in the middle with many water creatures. We could see tadpoles swimming in big schools and many frogs surprised us with their croaking and singing while we ate our snack. The children discovered fossil spirals in the rocks and quartz “gems” in a large gravel pile, and built beautiful fairy houses. Others saw how far they could toss a rock in the water and the many ripples made from handfuls of rocks. We walked the circumference of the quarry and enjoyed the “forget me not trail” through the moss covered cedar forest! The weather was perfect! Thank you with your patience in the former weeks cancellation and rescheduling this week. It was well worth the wait. Thank you to Gina who accompanied us to lend an extra hand!
We are entering our final weeks of the school year and the summer is pressing toward us as we move forward to greet this joyous season! In all that we do in this exciting and full season I am in a constant dance between Form and Freedom. I have been delicately adjusting my dance steps throughout this school year to meet this younger KG group. I must adjust my expectations of how much Form and keep a boundary for the Freedom to be expressed within. At this time of year the children’s capacity to work within more Form from the strong rhythmic foundation laid throughout the fall and winter is coupled with the Spring and Summer season’s pull to go out and be consumed by the out breath and Freedom. Finding the balance between the two poles is an artistic, creative process that takes a strong intention and a letting go simultaneously.
In my observations of our children at Lakeside we as a community excel in the opportunities offered for Freedom and are a bit more challenged to find a comfortable place with bringing Form. Often the Waldorf philosophy is misinterpreted as open ended, lacking structure and child directed. This is understandable given what one often observes of the children engaged in self directed play in the play yard at pick up and drop off times. This creative, self initiated play is strengthened by a clear structure and rhythm to our day. This is paired with teacher directed activities in which the child has an activity modeled for them and then they imitate within that form. This is so important. They are not able to discern right from wrong, or how one is meant to behave around the farm animals, move within a group or even how to come to a quiet rest without this modeling. This is done without a lot of explanation of why or how, but through doing it alongside the children as they have the opportunity to watch and imitate. One of the easiest things to slip into is thinking that the child’s consciousness is in their thinking. They actually have a body consciousness and “think” in pictures. They experience the world entirely through their senses rather than their intellect like we do as adults.
As we enter the summer season I might offer some practical suggestions for your young child for the summer months ahead. These may make this glorious season even more enjoyable for the whole family. Simplify the summer, while keeping a rhythm to your weeks and days. It is so easy to be caught in the spontaneity of these few short months. For the young child stepping out of something predictable and rhythmic can be exhausting, chaotic and overstimulating. It bombards the senses and often sends them spinning out of control. Spontaneity within a form is comforting, exciting, and full of growth.
- Lakeside School: View from the Office Window (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Lakeside School: From Mud to New Blossoms (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Lakeside School: Freedom and Independence (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- The Oldest/Newest Member of Lakeside School (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Barn Dance at Black Kettle Farm (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)